See with closed eyes
Learn to see and to feel life
Learning never ends
Paging through a book of photographic portraits by Henri Cartier-Bresson, I came to a picture of Josef Albers.
I remember well the first time I was introduced to his series, Homage to the Square.
It was in a lecture on modern art.
A slide of one of his works was displayed on the screen.
It was 4 different colored squares inside each other.
Before the professor could say anything, I sputtered out, “Oh sure, gimme a break.”
Which got a laugh and a smile from the Professor and a titter from a the class.
The Professor went on to describe the work.
To describe Josef Albers.
To describe Josef Albers and his work.
It wasn’t what was portrayed but the colors and the relationship of the colors to each in the square.
That was where the art was if we could see it.
I listened and looked.
And looked some more.
The color in each square was the same.
But where the color touched another color, at the top or the inside edge, the color WAS different.
How was this possible?
Albers’ said, “If one says ‘red’ – the name of color – and there are fifty people listening, it can be expected that there will be fifty reds in their minds. And one can be sure that all these reds will be very different.”
But that isn’t what I was seeing.
I was seeing that the same color was different depending on where I was looking.
How to solve this?
Albers’ also said, “Science aims at solving the problems of life, wheras art depends on unsolved problems.”
The best I could do was come away knowing that Albers was right.
I got his art.
I got an appreciation of his art.
An appreciation I hold to this day.
I got to think about seeing new ways.
Seeing with my eyes closed.
In 1980, the United States Postal Service came out with a Josef Albers stamp.
The stamp was simple.
It was a reproduction of one of his squares, titled ‘Glow.’
And it had text below the square.
“Learning never ends.”